It’s nearly impossible to shop for e-liquid without one thing becoming abundantly clear: There are often enormous price differences between different vape juice brands. Should you bother shelling out the extra money for an e-liquid that markets itself as a premium product when you’re perfectly happy with the lower-priced juice that you’re already using? While it’s impossible to provide a single answer that applies to all e-liquid brands, this article can at least provide some reasons as to why certain e-liquids cost more than others. So, why are some e-liquids so expensive? Let’s explore some of the particulars of the vape juice production process. Making an e-liquid is more complex – and more costly – than you might think.
Some e-liquids spend weeks – or even months – in development. Companies create new e-liquids in different ways. In some cases, an e-liquid maker will begin with an idea for a flavor profile and proceed to combine flavoring agents from different suppliers in various combinations until the desired profile is achieved. Other e-liquid makers might simply experiment with various flavors and refine the formulas that taste good.
Regardless of how it develops new products, an e-liquid company will go through a tremendous amount of raw materials during the development process. Let’s suppose, for example, that you want to create a simple flavor profile such as strawberries and cream. Scanning the selection of flavor concentrates available from your various suppliers, you find seven strawberry flavors and seven cream flavors. If you really care about your product, that’s 49 different flavor pairs that you’ll need to test. By the time you arrive at the perfect combination, you’ll have spent considerable amounts of time and money – and the more complex the desired flavor profile is, the longer the development time may be. It can often be quite some time before an e-liquid maker sees any profit at all from a new flavor.
After much experimentation, your hypothetical e-liquid company has finally arrived at the ideal flavor blend. Eureka! Now you simply need to turn your creation into an actual product that people can buy. How will you do it? If you answered, “I’ll mix it in my kitchen,” stop right there because those days are long, long gone. What you need is a true clean room facility along with modern production equipment that ensures a truly consistent product.
Don’t have the budget to set up such a facility? No problem; there are plenty of existing e-liquid production labs that will happily do the work for you and produce an absolutely flawless product that’s identical from one bottle to the next. Of course, that’s not a free service. The production expenses will be significant – and we’re not just talking about one product. You’ll have to produce each e-liquid flavor in multiple nicotine strengths. If you’re launching a new vape juice brand, you’re not just producing one flavor; you’re producing several. You’ll need to produce enough bottles of e-liquid to satisfy both the wholesale and retail markets. We’re talking about thousands of bottles here; the production costs behind any e-liquid product launch are significant. By the time your product is ready to go, you could be many thousands of dollars in the hole.
Having a finished e-liquid that’s ready to sell isn’t just a matter of mixing the juice; you also have to package it. You’ll need bottles and labels. Many e-liquid companies also opt to seal their bottles with tamper-evident heat-shrink tubing. Do you want to print your label on a fancy material such as metallic paper? That’ll cost more. The biggest decision you’ll face, though, is whether to use glass or plastic bottles. Some people go through an enormous amount of e-liquid every day and have expressed a preference for plastic squeeze bottles due to the ease of use those bottles provide. That works out well for e-liquid makers since plastic bottles tend to be cheaper than glass bottles.
On the other hand, glass is more inert than plastic and is less likely to react with the delicate flavor compounds in an e-liquid. Are you trying to create an e-liquid that provides a truly special flavor experience? You’ll probably want to opt for glass bottles. Glass costs more than plastic, though, so you’ll need to charge a bit more for your e-liquid to make up for that expense.
Until now, we’ve focused on the technical and logistical challenges inherent in producing an e-liquid. Why are some e-liquids so expensive? For the most part, it’s because the more committed a company is to producing a truly premium product, the more that product will cost to make. The greater a product’s manufacturing costs are, the higher the retail price will be. When you taste an e-liquid that really succeeds in its goal of providing an upscale vaping experience, you’ll know why you paid those few extra dollars.
On the other hand, there is another way in which a company can get away with charging more for its e-liquids: They can simply create the perception that they’re offering a premium product. In a sense, there’s no functional difference between an expensive bottle of e-liquid and a cheap one. Both bottles provide nicotine, flavor and clouds. Flavor quality is a completely subjective thing, and no matter how much time and money a company puts toward developing a “perfect” e-liquid, there will be some people who simply don’t like it.
In the history of the vaping industry, there have been a few e-liquid companies that decided to forgo lengthy and expensive development processes in favor of developing products that were just “good enough” and focusing their efforts on marketing instead. Even today, you’ll find a few e-liquid companies still getting by with that mode of business. Their bottles will look a little flashier than the rest. They’ll have extremely polished product descriptions full of flowery language. When you actually try the e-liquids, though, you’ll taste flavor profiles that are pretty much the same as those of dozens of other e-liquids you’ve tried before.
Every once in a while, you may get burned by an e-liquid company that charges more for its products without providing anything truly unique. When that happens, shake it off and don’t ever lose your desire to experiment. Most e-liquid companies go to great lengths to produce incredible flavor profiles that’ll blow your mind. When you find one of those really great e-liquids, you’ll probably agree that it’s worthwhile to spend a few more dollars on a juice that’s truly special.
Jason Artman is the owner and author of eCig One. A professional freelance writer and SEO consultant with more than a decade of experience, Jason works with vaping companies around the world to increase their targeted web traffic and improve their revenue
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